LINCOLN, November 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The incoming bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska has thrown down the gauntlet to the Obama administration, pledging that the Catholic Church will not obey the administration’s HHS birth control mandate.
“The Catholic Church is not going to back down,” said Bishop James Conley, who currently serves as Denver Auxiliary Bishop. “We are never going to compromise our principles. We will defy it and face the consequences.”
Conley is set to replace Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz as Bishop of Lincoln on November 20.
The HHS mandate requires employers, including most religious employers, to provide health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion causing drugs.
The Catholic Church opposes all forms of contraception, including surgical sterilizations, hormonal contraceptives, and barrier methods. The Church also vehemently opposes abortion, and warns that many drugs currently being marketed as contraceptives can actually induce abortion.
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Conley’s remarks echo those of the head of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, who said last week that Obama’s re-election means that “the collision course of the Obama administration with the Catholic Church…is assured.”
Fr. Pavone called on pro-lifers to “an unwavering commitment to civil disobedience.”
The HHS mandate is set to take effect in August of next year for religious employers who do not meet the administration’s stringent requirements for a “religious employer exemption” from the mandate. The mandate has already gone into effect for businesses.
Dozens of charities and businesses are challenging the mandate in lawsuits across the country.
Other Catholic leaders have also pledged their renewed commitment to fight the mandate in the face of Obama’s re-election, including Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
Lori, who serves as head of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their annual meeting Monday that “whatever setbacks or challenges in the efforts to defend religious liberty we may be experiencing, we’re going to stay the course.”